I have a 1997 but I have an opportunity to buy a 1994 - QUESTION

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I have a 1997 NOT triple locked (and no CDL button...but I'm going to update that soon) that I've had since March 2015 and I'm finally in a good financial position to begin baselinning / building it...

...And I have an opportunity to purchase another (1994) in super clean and straight and in an unmolested state except for a 2" lift and some front bumper work. Interior is near mint (Blue cloth), sunroof opens, all windows work but a tad slow, NOT triple locked but with the CDL button, near new tires (40K miles left on the warranty) and 15 years or so of maintenance records to include an oil test which came back perfect.

The pics indicate it's prior to air bags, which, ok, that's fine with me...that means I can put in the grab bar at the glove compartment, hahaha.

But here's my question (And YES, I've gone through the "Newbie" guide numerous times)...

For those owners who have both or moved from one to another...Are there any MAJOR differences between the 1994 and 1997 models? I know the transmissions are different, and that there's a lot of debate on which one is "better"...both have the 1FZE motor...1994 has the Disc brakes but no ABS (AFAIK). The Seatbelts are different, and the dash is different too...but overall performance wise...there's nothing different, correct? I ask because for the past 20+ years I've heard, "If you're going to get one, make sure it's a '97 because that's the best year", which I THINK is more of a preference by the owners I've spoken with.



Thanks in advance,
 
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Yes, thanks...I've been through this MULTIPLE times already over the years (both lurking and as a joined member). I've noted that I already know some of the differences, but I'm asking for those owners who might have first hand experience between the two.

Again, thanks!
 
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Aside from the things you mention, the major diference is engine management. 1994 is OBD1, 1997 is OBD2. If you're leaving it stock, makes no difference in terms of performance and any difference in maintenance is negligible (i.e. a few things might be different, but not any harder). If you ever want to add a supercharger or turbo, the 1997 is the better platform for that due to the engine management.
 
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Aside from the things you mention, the major diference is engine management. 1994 is OBD1, 1997 is OBD2. If you're leaving it stock, makes no difference in terms of performance and any difference in maintenance is negligible. If you ever want to add a supercharger or turbo, the 1997 is the better platform for that due to the engine management.
Awesome...thanks for the reminder about the OBD setup...that's nothing too major, as far as I can tell, but something to keep in the back of the old noodle.

I thought about putting a supercharger on my '97 but after going down the rabbit hole about it on this site, I think I'm going to pass on that kind of update.


Thanks!
 

effjay80

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Sorry. Yes from my perspective the OBD1 vs. 2 is biggest difference, and exhaust and some other parts seem more widely available for post-95 models.
 
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Sorry. Yes from my perspective the OBD1 vs. 2 is biggest difference, and exhaust and some other parts seem more widely available for post-95 models.
Exhaust wise, I know the biggest change was with the Cats going from side by side to in-line ion the later years and then some adjustment on the pipes themselves...I didn't know that parts were a bit harder to find on pre-95's. Good to know, thanks!
 
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If you have rear discs on the 93/94 you have abs. They came together as an option for those years. Rare to see one w/o the rear discs. Also in the spring of 93:Toyota switched from R12 to R 134a for the a/c
 
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I have owned both a 1994 and 1995 and have still have my 1995. If I could get my 1994 back, I'd do it in a minute.

Performance is virtually the same from 1993-1997. The early 1FZ engines have a PAIR valve, the later ones don't.

The 1993-94 oil pans don't have a pan arch seal that leaks. Constantly. The 1995-97 oil pans do.

The 1993-94 exhaust arrngement is harder to find a replacement for than the later 1995-97. The difference is in the design of the drop down tubes. You can get a replacement for either, but you can get an idea of the difference by reviewing Otramm's video on his stainless exhaust design.

The A442F is much more reliable than the A343F. That alone would make the choice for me, if I didn't know anything else.

The seats and steering wheel in the 1994 are a much more ergonomic match than the 1995-97 are. I've had more than one person who drove both tell me they agreed, so it's not just me. That is the primary connection you have with the truck, and if it's not ideal, you'll feel it the entire time, every time, you drive.

The 1994 steering wheel isn't wrapped or padded, the 1995-97 are.

The 1994 doesn't have airbags. That's not a problem for me, but it is a difference.

@ToothDr is correct about the ABS and disc brakes; they go together. The ABS wheel sensor is NLA for the 1994; later years are still available.

The sunroof seal will die eventually. It has a finite life. The seal is glued onto the glass and you have to replace both to replace one. The 1994 sunroof is still available. The 1995-97 sunroof have been out of stock (or NLA) for some time.

The 1994 headliner is glued on; the 1995-97 are fiberboard and can be removed/repaired/replaced.

There are significant differences in dash design, making working behind them different. Neither is better than the other, but they aren't the same.

The OBDII compliance Toyota had with the 1995-97 wasn't as good as it could have been, and it's not what the 2022 land cruisers have; but it doesn't have the 28lbs of computers, either. If OBDII matters to you, you probably need a 100 or 200 series.


Ignore the "buy a '97 because it was the best year" nonsense. What matters is what you think of what you drive, not what someone else thinks of what you have.
 
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I have owned both a 1994 and 1995 and have still have my 1995. If I could get my 1994 back, I'd do it in a minute.

Performance is virtually the same from 1993-1997. The early 1FZ engines have a PAIR valve, the later ones don't.

The 1993-94 oil pans don't have a pan arch seal that leaks. Constantly. The 1995-97 oil pans do.

The 1993-94 exhaust arrngement is harder to find a replacement for than the later 1995-97. The difference is in the design of the drop down tubes. You can get a replacement for either, but you can get an idea of the difference by reviewing Otramm's video on his stainless exhaust design.

The A442F is much more reliable than the A343F. That alone would make the choice for me, if I didn't know anything else.

The seats and steering wheel in the 1994 are a much more ergonomic match than the 1995-97 are. I've had more than one person who drove both tell me they agreed, so it's not just me. That is the primary connection you have with the truck, and if it's not ideal, you'll feel it the entire time, every time, you drive.

The 1994 steering wheel isn't wrapped or padded, the 1995-97 are.

The 1994 doesn't have airbags. That's not a problem for me, but it is a difference.

@ToothDr is correct about the ABS and disc brakes; they go together. The ABS wheel sensor is NLA for the 1994; later years are still available.

The sunroof seal will die eventually. It has a finite life. The seal is glued onto the glass and you have to replace both to replace one. The 1994 sunroof is still available. The 1995-97 sunroof have been out of stock (or NLA) for some time.

The 1994 headliner is glued on; the 1995-97 are fiberboard and can be removed/repaired/replaced.

There are significant differences in dash design, making working behind them different. Neither is better than the other, but they aren't the same.

The OBDII compliance Toyota had with the 1995-97 wasn't as good as it could have been, and it's not what the 2022 land cruisers have; but it doesn't have the 28lbs of computers, either. If OBDII matters to you, you probably need a 100 or 200 series.


Ignore the "buy a '97 because it was the best year" nonsense. What matters is what you think of what you drive, not what someone else thinks of what you have.

All of that was great to read, thanks! That's what I was looking for, to be honest.
My biggest problem, comfortwise with the '97 is the leather seating...the seats sit too high for me, even with adjustments and the leather, as we all know, is just...bad. I've sat on the cloth and I am much more comfortable. The 90's ergo is fine with me...and I don't necessarily mind no airbags.

I was wondering about the headliner...Not too much of a fan of id dropping because of glue - that would be something I would have to watch out for but it's not a deciding factor to walk away.

The ODBII doesn't matter to me in the long run...My first car was a 1977 Dodge Power Wagon back in 1994, ha! And after that finally gave up the ghost (1997), I moved to a 1983 Toyota 4x4 with the 22R.

100 series are nice (and VERY capable) but I'm not a fan of them in appearance...They're great, but just not for me. I much prefer the 80 series. I've had my '97 for seven years and she's great...this '94 also has 20K miles less than my '97


Thanks!
 
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1994 has the Disc brakes but no ABS (AFAIK).

If it came with the CDL switch from the factory, then it's got no ABS, drum rear brakes, and a semi-floating rear axle.

 
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If it came with the CDL switch from the factory, then it's got no ABS, drum rear brakes, and a semi-floating rear axle.

Owner mentioned in an email "It has the center diff lock" so I'm assuming that is the switch...? I know when a lot of people mention this, they are referring to the switch...? Or am I wrong. Mine doesn't have the switch and neither did my father's.

I'll definitely confirm...he commented he's had it for over a decade and has an envelope of maintenance records.
 
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Owner mentioned in an email "It has the center diff lock" so I'm assuming that is the switch...?

People love to mention the transfer case lock to confuse newbs or because they're confused themselves. It's pretty common to add a lock switch and do the pin 7 mod, so it doesn't mean much unless he specifically said that it came with the CDL switch from the factory.

It's not really a big deal. I'd bet you could find a full floating rear axle to swap in if you wanted, given the low failure rate on these rigs. If ABS is critical to you then it's a deal breaker, though.
 
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People love to mention the transfer case lock to confuse newbs or because they're confused themselves. It's pretty common to add a lock switch and do the pin 7 mod, so it doesn't mean much unless he specifically said that it came with the CDL switch from the factory.

It's not really a big deal. I'd bet you could find a full floating rear axle to swap in if you wanted, given the low failure rate on these rigs. If ABS is critical to you then it's a deal breaker, though.
Thanks.

I really appreciate all the notes!
I may have grown up in and around them but my knowledge is considerably less than most everyone on this site...so, it's appreciated, thanks!

:)

Good to know about people and the switch...I'll keep that in mind.

ABS isn't critical to me, fwiw.
 

2000cruiser

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I have currently have both a 94 and a 97. I much prefer the 97 for daily/long highway driving on the A343. Many of the pros/cons have been covered by previous points. Bullets on my personal simple thoughts between both:

- A343 is nice and quiet for longer drives, shift points fit daily driving a bit better for my larger tires. From a "feel" perspective, this was the most noticeable difference. Additionally, there are way more parts available for this tranny (and the OBD2 overall). I could be wrong, but the A442 felt like it crawled better when Tcase is on low. I felt the need to under drive the low gear immediately on the 97.

- OBDII on the 97 will give you way more turbo options, scanguage on the dash, etc

- Headliner on the 97 is molded and easier to remove for wiring, sound deadening, cleaning, vs. the old school stitched version similar to the 60 series that tends to droop and almost impossible to work with

- The center dash is more modular so you can get behind the switches and stereo area simply by removing a smaller piece, instead of the entire area that spans to the door on the 97

- The exhaust/y pipe are routed differently between the 2, the 97 will give you bolt on downpipes, exhaust, cat options. The only option I had was to get 2 OEM downpipes and get custom exhaust work for my 94

Parts in general are more readily available for the OBD2 version. Overall, my 97 is much more minty- but that's the reason I decided to get one after investing so much on my 94 hahah. Years of lurking around forums and reading the opinions of people that have owned multiple 80s, the consensus I got was the 95-97s are more desirable for overall, but if its dedicated for mostly crawling, and vehicle seldomly used- 93-94s are great since they're usually cheaper. :)
 
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